'Funds abused in SABC shows'

2009-02-16 21:03

Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance asked the Public Protector on Monday to investigate the alleged abuse of state funds in some SABC broadcasts.

This emerged from a letter - that was released to the media - from DA MP Motlatjo Thetjeng to the Protector, Lawrence Mushwana.

He has been asked to examine "three possible cases of abuse of state resources involving the department of housing and the department of agriculture as well as the abuse of the website of the SA embassy in Netherlands to promote the ANC".

The DA complained about the SABC 2 show Agriculture Today on weekdays between 05:30 and 05:55, and a programme by the housing department Breaking New Ground on Mondays at 22:00.

Praising the department

Thetjeng said the purpose of these television programmes appeared to be to praise the work of these departments.

There was little or no critical discussion about land or housing.

"It is not clear whether the departments are paying for these programmes or the SABC is. If it is the SABC, this would be a scandalous abuse of their position as a public - not - political broadcaster," Thetjeng said.

"If the departments are paying, it is a blatant misuse of money meant for service delivery."

Link to ANC website

Thetjeng also complained about the website of the SA embassy in the Netherlands placing a direct link to the ruling party's home page.

"Placing a direct link to the ruling party's home page on a government website is a clear abuse of state resources and fundamentally undermines the constitutionally entrenched principle of separation of state and party," said Thetjeng.

The Protector's spokesperson, Kgalalelo Masibi, confirmed he had received the letter but said Mushwana has yet to read it.

It was too early to say whether he would investigate the DA's complaints, Masibi said.